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A small study on MF Husain’s paintings

Disclaimer : An absolute newbie to art. My first outing with paintings.


mf husain indian festivals

General theme of festivity involving water, however the festivity is around fire, plants and water — in that order. Generally dull indic colours. Same palette used across the 3 panes, yet depicting very diverse themes. Boldest colour blue stands out in all panes, demands attention, and also used in the areas of single highest thematic importance in each pane.

Pane 1 — Holi. Ironically, the kids and the lady playing holi (the festival of colours) are portrayed in white. Kids’ hair tied up like that of Krishna, and the pichkaari in the position of his flute. The kids portrayed in a blue box, probably meaning they are already wet with water. The dancing ladies, signify the prayers offered on Holi around a bonfire.

Pane 2 — Tulsi pooja. All women offering a pooja to a tulsi plant. Peculiarly, one plant in the foreground has been portrayed with blue leaves. Dark background gives an indication that the women have brought water from great distances.

Pane 3 — Poornima. Oil lamps lit and let to flow in the river. Large moon gives a feeling of overall prevailing calm. Stark difference in the age and skin tone of the ladies, depicting women across various groups come together for the festivity.

Three Dynasties


3 panes showing 3 major dynasties that ruled over india, not in chronological order. Colours used are bold and aggressive.

Pane 1 : Mughals. Akbar is shown. Under Akbar diversity found prominent attention. Art flourished. On the bottom is Jodha, a hindu Rajput princess, who married Akbar. Jallaluddin Mohammed Akbar, written in Urdu to depict his Islamic routes, Ganesha on Jodha’s caravan to signify her faith.

Pane 2 : Mauryas. Ashoka is shown. A battle is being fought, probably the one at Kalinga signified by the colours in the back drop — Red was the prominient colour in the Mauryan flag and orange in that of Kalinga. The tigers appear to be climbing the pillar, which Ashoka installed on winning battles (a pillar with tigers on the top). After the battle, Ashoka became a follower of Buddhism, as depicted by Buddha, in white, signifying purity and being above all else mortal.

Pane 3 : British. Shows Queen Victoria. A viceroy is depicted with people inside his coat, indicating he has control over the country but the people are eager to burst out, led by Mahatma Gandhi — who is shown along side cattle to suggest that he was deeply associated with rural India. A gun with the trigger on the side of 4 people consisting of British officials, rich Indian prince and a princess who took side of the british and the gun pointing towards the indian protesters showing the use of power to suppress uprisings.



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